What is Justification of Istighāthah after Death?

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Qur’ān and sunnah

 Some people, in spite of their awareness of the injunctions of Qur’ān and sunnah and the practice of the Companions, believe that it is possible to help one another in the earthly world and therefore, it is valid to seek and extend help, but after death the creat ure has no control over his body, so how can help be sought from him? Since it is beyond his control to help others, seeking help from him is a form of disbelief.

 This pig-headedness needs a t wofold elaboration. First of all, it is an established fact that the creature, whether he is alive or resting in his grave, has absolutely no control over his body in both cases. These powers are only conferred on him by Allāh, which we exercise during our worldly existence to handle a variety of matters. It, in fact, is Allāh’s blessing on the creat ure and, if Allāh decides to withdraw it from him during his earthly life, he will be deprived even of the capacity to pull a straw. So, just as in this world of cause-and-effect, Allāh has absolute control over all the powers of the creat ure, and yet it is not a kind of disbelief to seek help from him, similarly Allāh does not condemn it as disbelief if someone seeks help from another creat ure after death. Just as in life it is disbelief to regard the creature as the real helper but his help can be derivatively invoked, similarly it is quite valid to regard the prophets and saints, as derivat ive helpers after death and to beseech them for help. Disbelief whether it is associated with a living person or a dead person remains disbelief. But to seek help from someone in his derivative capacity whether he is dead or alive is quite valid and does not amount to disbelief. Islam does not believe in double standards that an act is a form of belief if you perform it in a mosque and it t urns into disbelief if you perform it in a t emple. Islamic injunct ions and the consequences that follow from them display a consistent pattern. Thus, if we treat a medical expert as the true helper and seek his assistance, it will be considered a form of disbelief. On the other hand, if we regard Allāh as the true helper and seek the help of a virtuous person as a form of treatment, it is quite valid and is in no way inconsistent with Islamic sharī‘ah.

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 The real purpose of a man’s life:

 The real purpose of a man’s life is to be included among the favourites of God and to acquire as much knowledge of the divine springs of Power as is consistent with human limitations. Therefore, to realise this purpose, human beings rely on the saints and the virtuous people because they not only themselves have cultivated divine consciousness but also develop it in those who are closely associated with them. This is the reason we find Ibrāhīm praying to God to include him among His favourites so that he could persuade his followers to pursue a similar goal: O my Lord! Make me perfect in knowledge and conduct and include me among those whom You have rewarded with Your nearness. (Qur’ān (ash-Shu‘arā’, the Poets) 26:83.)

 Here, the word hukman means the acme of human capacity for knowledge and conduct. Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānīpatī says:

 That is, to bring knowledge and conduct to such a climactic point that one develops the complete ability to represent the sublime office of divinity and to provide unflawed guidance and political leadership to humanity. Qādī T hanā’ullāh Pānīpatī, at-Tafsīr-ul-mazharī (7:72).

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